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Personal Memories and Social Associations: How Positive Emotions Influence the Activation of Implicit Prejudices

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two positive discrete emotions, awe and nurturant love, on implicit prejudices. After completing an emotion induction task, participants completed Implicit Association Test blocks where they paired photos of Arab

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two positive discrete emotions, awe and nurturant love, on implicit prejudices. After completing an emotion induction task, participants completed Implicit Association Test blocks where they paired photos of Arab and White individuals with "good" and "bad" evaluations. We hypothesized that nurturant love would increase the strength of negative evaluations of Arab individuals and positive evaluations of White individuals, whereas awe would decrease the strength of these negative evaluations when compared to a neutral condition. However, we found that both awe and nurturant love increased negative implicit prejudices toward Arab individuals when compared to the neutral condition.

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2018-05

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Substantive justice: how the substantive law shapes perceived fairness

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Psychology of justice research has demonstrated that individuals are concerned with both the process and the outcomes of a decision-making event. While the literature has demonstrated the importance of formal and informal aspects of procedural justice and the relevancy of

Psychology of justice research has demonstrated that individuals are concerned with both the process and the outcomes of a decision-making event. While the literature has demonstrated the importance of formal and informal aspects of procedural justice and the relevancy of moral values, the present study focuses on introducing a new form of justice: Substantive justice. Substantive justice focuses on how the legal system uses laws to constrain and direct human behavior, specifically focusing on the function and the structure of a law. The psychology of justice literature is missing the vital distinction between laws whose function is to create social opportunities versus threats and between laws structured concretely versus abstractly. In the present experiment, we found that participant evaluations of the fairness of the law, the outcome, and the decision-maker all varied depending on the function and structure of the law used as well as the outcome produced. Specifically, when considering adverse outcomes, individuals perceived laws whose function is to create liability (threats) as being fairer when structured as standards (abstract guidelines) rather than rules (concrete guidelines); however, the opposite is true when considering laws whose function is to create eligibility (opportunities). In juxtaposition, when receiving a favorable outcome, individuals perceived laws whose function is to create liability (threats) as being fairer when defined as rules (concrete guidelines) rather than standards (abstract guidelines).

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2011

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Climate as a moderator of the effect of disease threat on interpersonal behavior

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Infectious diseases have been a major threat to survival throughout human history. Humans have developed a behavioral immune system to prevent infection by causing individuals to avoid people, food, and objects that could be contaminated. This current project investigates how

Infectious diseases have been a major threat to survival throughout human history. Humans have developed a behavioral immune system to prevent infection by causing individuals to avoid people, food, and objects that could be contaminated. This current project investigates how ambient temperature affects the activation of this system. Because temperature is positively correlated with the prevalence of many deadly diseases, I predict that temperature moderates the behavioral immune system, such that a disease prime will have a stronger effect in a hot environment compared to a neutral environment and one's avoidant behaviors will be more extreme. Participants were placed in a hot room (M = 85F) or a neutral room (M = 77F) and shown a disease prime slide show or a neutral slide show. Disgust sensitivity and perceived vulnerability surveys were used to measure an increased perceived risk to disease. A taste test between a disgusting food item (gummy bugs) and a neutral food item (gummy animals) measured food avoidance. There was no significant avoidance of the gummy and no significant difference in ratings of disgust sensitivity or perceived vulnerability as a function of temperature conditions. There were no significant interactions between temperature and disease. The conclusion is that this study did not provide evidence that temperature moderates the effect of disease cues on behavior.

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2012

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Group identity and expressions of prejudice among Mexican heritage adolescents

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A study was conducted to assess the effects of generational status on various measures of stigmatization, acculturative stress, and perceived social and interpersonal threat within the Mexican heritage population in the Southwest. The role of the fear of stigma by

A study was conducted to assess the effects of generational status on various measures of stigmatization, acculturative stress, and perceived social and interpersonal threat within the Mexican heritage population in the Southwest. The role of the fear of stigma by association, regardless of actual experiences of stigmatization, was investigated, including its relationships with acculturative stress, perceived threat, and social distancing. Exploratory analyses indicated that first generation Mexican Americans differed significantly from second generation Mexican Americans on the perception of Mexican nationals as ingroup members, the fear of stigma by association by Americans, and levels of acculturative stress. Additional analyses indicated that Mexican Americans with one parent born in Mexico and one in the United States held opinions and attitudes most similar to second generation Mexican Americans. Results from path analyses indicated that first-generation Mexican Americans were more likely than second-generation Mexican Americans to both see Mexican nationals as ingroup members and to be afraid of being stigmatized for their perceived association with them. Further, seeing Mexican nationals as in-group members resulted in less social distancing and lower perceived threat, but fear of stigma by association lead to greater perceived threat and greater acculturative stress. Implications for within- and between-group relations and research on stigma by association are discussed.

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2010

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Sensory-motor mechanisms unify psychology: motor effort and perceived distance to cultural out-groups

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ABSTRACT This thesis proposes that a focus on the bodily level of analysis can unify explanation of behavior in cognitive, social, and cultural psychology. To examine this unifying proposal, a sensorimotor mechanism with reliable explanatory power in cognitive and social

ABSTRACT This thesis proposes that a focus on the bodily level of analysis can unify explanation of behavior in cognitive, social, and cultural psychology. To examine this unifying proposal, a sensorimotor mechanism with reliable explanatory power in cognitive and social psychology was used to predict a novel pattern of behavior in cultural context, and these predictions were examined in three experiments. Specifically, the finding that people judge objects that require more motor effort to interact with as farther in visual space was adapted to predict that people with interdependent self-construal(SC) , relative to those with independent SC, would visually perceive their cultural outgroups as farther relative to their cultural in-groups. Justifying this cultural extension of what is primarily a cognitive mechanism is the assumption that, unlike independents, Interdependents interact almost exclusively with in-group members, and hence there sensorimotor system is less tuned to cross-cultural interactions. Thus, interdependents, more so than independents, expect looming cross-cultural interactions to be effortful, which may inflate their judgment of distance to the out-groups. Two experiments confirmed these predictions: a) interdependent Americans, compared to independent Americans, perceived American confederates (in-group) as visually closer; b) interdependent Arabs, compared to independent Arabs, perceived Arab confederates (in-group) as closer; and c) interdependent Americans, relative to independent Americans, perceived Arab confederates (out-group) as farther. A third study directly established the proposed relation between motor effort and distance to human targets: American men perceived other American men as closer after an easy interaction than after a more difficult interaction. Together, these results demonstrate that one and the same sensorimotor mechanism can explain/predict homologous behavioral patterns across the subdisciplines of psychology.

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Date Created
2013

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Partitioning responsibility: the influence of cultural differences in social attributions on jurors' division of responsibility in a negligent tort context

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Research at the intersection of psychology and law has demonstrated that juror decision-making is subject to many cognitive biases, however, it fails to consider the influence of culturally derived cognitive biases. As jurors become increasingly demographically and culturally diverse it

Research at the intersection of psychology and law has demonstrated that juror decision-making is subject to many cognitive biases, however, it fails to consider the influence of culturally derived cognitive biases. As jurors become increasingly demographically and culturally diverse it is possible—and even likely—that their attributions might vary because of their cultural background. I predict that cultural and demographic group affiliation affects attributional tendencies such that, compared to situationally focused individuals (those from East Asian cultures, women, those from lower socioeconomic status groups, and older individuals), dispositionally focused individuals (those from Western cultures, men, those from higher socioeconomic status groups, and younger individuals) are less likely to attribute some portion of causation and responsibility for the harm to other influences, and they are more likely to find the defendant liable and hold the defendant financially responsible to a greater degree. This dissertation has three aims: (1) to examine how culturally derived attributional tendencies influence jurors' assessments of causation in complex negligent tort cases where there are multiple causal influences (i.e., multiple tortfeasors and plaintiff negligence) (Studies 1 and 2); (2) to study the implications of those causal determinations on liability determinations, damage awards, and other legal decisions (Studies 1 and 2); and (3) to determine whether these culturally derived attributional tendencies are malleable, suggesting an intervention that might be used to attenuate the influence of attributional tendencies in a trial setting (Study 3). This work advances psychological research on cultural differences in attribution by exploring attributional differences in a new domain, developing a new scale of individual differences in attributional tendencies, and examining how multiple causal influences affects culturally derived attributional tendencies and downstream decision-making.

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Date Created
2017

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Does Genetic Conflict Contribute to Pregnancy Complications and Postpartum Health and Behavior?

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Pregnancy is often described as one of the most cooperative ventures that a woman can experience in her lifetime. But when one considers the biological changes that occur during pregnancy, it becomes clear that pregnancy is not as cooperative as

Pregnancy is often described as one of the most cooperative ventures that a woman can experience in her lifetime. But when one considers the biological changes that occur during pregnancy, it becomes clear that pregnancy is not as cooperative as it seems on the surface. The current research uses a genetic conflict framework to predict how underlying conflict between mother and fetus over resource transfers is expected to alter eating behavior and food preferences, and how these changes in eating behavior and preferences should then be associated with certain pregnancy complications. Across two studies, women who had recently had a baby (Study 1) or were currently pregnant (Study 2) recalled changes in their eating behavior during pregnancy as well as any pregnancy complications they experienced during that pregnancy. Providing partial support for the hypotheses, women who reported increased vomiting in response to maternal-favoring foods were more likely to experience preeclampsia during pregnancy. In addition, the results provided preliminary evidence that changes in pregnancy eating behavior were associated with an increased the likelihood of experiencing high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and infections during pregnancy. Taken together, these studies show that the framework of genetic conflict makes testable predictions about the relationship between eating behavior in pregnancy and pregnancy complications, and that several pregnancy complications that are relevant to genetic conflict (high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and infection) are associated with changes in eating behavior in pregnancy. Future research should continue to investigate how genetic conflict influences the relationships between pregnancy eating behavior, pregnancy complications, and how these associations impact postpartum health.

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2022